Monday, April 28, 2014

finola - eleven months!

Dear Fin, 
Only a month until you are one!
Where did this year go?  
A blur of breastfeeding, diaper changes, and hauling two little blondies around everywhere.  
Awesome, tiring, and so sweet.
It is hard for me to remember who I was before babies.
I guess I had lots of free time.
Yet somehow I was less productive.
Let's just say, you and your brother inspire me to do a lot.
Write more, run more, run farther, cook more, nest more, 
get out more, make more friends, take more photos...
It can be exhausting!

But so much fun.

Gosh, you are a good eater.  I mean, you will eat pretty much anything (except avocado) and will eat quite a bit.  Mac n cheese is your favorite, which I guess I could have expected.   Or really, any pasta.  (Just like your mama!) I can tell you are done eating when you start throwing things to the dog.  Oh, speaking of the dog, you like to try to eat his food, too.  As far as the bottle, well, it is getting trickier to get you to drink your formula.  If there is other food present it will simply not happen.  You are sure to be a shot put thrower someday because you launch that bottle across the room with great strength and skill.

Great!  Finally.  Sleeping through the night is where we are consistently at now.  There may be the occasional night waking if you are sick/teething.  You go to bed at 7 and wake up around 6:30.  Still taking two naps, the morning one shortened slightly.

  • You will occasionally push off something and stand on your own, for about five seconds.
  • Your words are : Mama (yes!!!) Dada, Nana, and Babababa (???)  Lots of babbling.
  • Have gotten braver "walking" while holding only one of my hands.  Very wobbly, though!  No solo steps yet!
  • Love to clap and stomp when we sing "If You're Happy and You Know It"
  • You are a climber - every bit as much as Cormac was.  You are fearless when it comes to climbing up stairs, ladders, playground equipment, etc.  Getting down?  Not so much.
  • You LOVE going down slides, whether it be baby slides or big ones on mama's lap.
  • I think she really wants to walk.  This is her expression every time she uses one of her walking toys.
  • You weigh 21 pounds.
  • You now have four (almost five) teeth!
  • Went to the doc about your feet - x-rays showed nothing abnormal in the bone structure, but you have extreme pronation and small yet wide feet.  So buying shoes is gonna be super fun!
  • Your hair has gotten much longer and you have curls in the back!

This month's memories...
  • Your first UK championship game watch!  
  • Your first Easter!
  • Your first "race" 
you and your partner in crime, Carter -- watching the elite 8 game
she came to watch my first race in forever.  so, so lovely crossing the finish line and having the family there!
we pretty much go to a park every day

Cormac got behind the camera for this one -- don't mind my makeup-less, crazy-hair state.
Guilty!  This is now unfortunately one of her fave places to be.
easter morning in bunny pjs

                                                                  Sibling Relations:
We definitely have our daily challenges.  I have really had to be conscious of making sure Cormac gets enough quality alone time with me, as it is easy to get distracted with a baby and kind of just get through the day.  But despite the vying for attention and you getting up in his personal space a lot, The love between you is evident, and I pray it always stays that way.  

my little squishy faces.
learning the art of back massages at a young age.
isn't it fun when mama forces you to dance together???
Well, that is month eleven. 
(Here was your brother's month eleven - and here.)
I expect this next month will be a lot of me prepping for your party, 
taking you and your bro to the park and on lots of runs 
due to this beautiful weather (finally!) 

I am excited for all things to come this summer!
Here's to hoping you love the pool!

Love you, girl - 


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

//my first half-marathon//

This past Saturday I ran my first half-marathon.
(The Derby Festival Mini-Marathon in Louisville, to be exact.)

I haven't blogged much about my addiction to running.

Basically, I grew up thinking I was not an athlete.  
I was horrible at all team sports I was forced to play in grade school...
a tiny church school where everyone was expected to participate in the following sports:
basketball, volleyball, and softball.

I sat on the bench in basketball and prayed the coach would not put me in.

Volleyball was just me standing there a lot looking goofy.

Softball...just yuck.  I whiffed the ball constantly and thankfully was mostly put in the outfield where someone else would run over and catch the ball if it came anywhere near me.

Clearly any sport involving a ball was not for me
since I am super uncoordinated and afraid of being hit in the face.

High school was no different. After one season of volleyball freshman year I gave up on team sports for good. 
 I preferred reading.
I loved writing.
I was in plays.
I stayed active by taking super long walks around our farm property, contemplating life and daydreaming.

Then, at age sixteen, I got a little bored with my hours of walking and decided I would mix in some running.  Prior to this I had only run one mile - the requirement during freshman gym class. 

Anyway, I started by running a mile, then walking a mile, then running two, then three...

Pretty soon, I was running every day. I loved it.

And I haven't stopped since.

I probably ran more than I went to class my first year of college.

I kept with it throughout my twenties, running through the neighborhoods of wherever I lived.

I ran my first 5K at age nineteen, an activity for my required health class, and ran it in 26:10, which, even though I got passed by a guy pushing twins, I was happy with, since I had never raced before.

When I moved to Cincinnati in 2005 I joined a running group.
I joined to make friends, and while I did make a few I ended up enjoying it more for the competition.
I somehow found myself in the "fast group" (or at least chasing them) and pushing myself harder than I ever had before.
The group was training for a 10K race on Thanksgiving.
At that point that was the longest I'd ever ran - 6.2 miles.

It was awesome - and I even placed #11 in my division!

Somehow, despite being terrible at sports, I had found my sport.

After that I got married and sort of fell away from the running group and racing.
I kept running about 3 miles a day, five days a week, 
but stressful jobs and grad school and eventually babies
took my mind away from racing.

Until now.

In an effort to get back in shape after my pregnancy with Finola
I committed to training for a half-marathon.
I registered and then there was no going back.

Because of my schedule and the babies I decided to train on the treadmill, 
building my mileage each Saturday at the gym.
I've never been a treadmill runner, much preferring outside, 
but sometimes you just have to do what works...

and it worked!

I ran 13.1 miles in 1:45:50 
(meeting my goal of finishing in less than two hours!)

During the race I felt like I was running pretty slow, but I didn't want to overdo it and then have to walk at the end.  I tried to keep my pace reasonably fast yet steady.

I stopped at every water stop and even ran with a protein bar - which I ate half of during the race.

I listened to my 'racing mix' on my iPod and let the likes of Ke$ha and Beyonce motivate me mile after mile.

I enjoyed the scenery of Churchill Downs and beautiful, historic streets of old Louisville.

I was amused by the signs of the amazing folks cheering us on by the side of the road, especially the one that said
"Smile!  You paid to do this!"  

And I did smile.  In fact, I grinned a big ol' goofy grin as I crossed that finish line.

It was awesome.

Of course, about fifteen minutes after crossing the finish line I was hobbling around like an 80-year-old woman, my bowels screaming at me and feeling super nauseous.

Then I had my free congratulatory beer at the beer tent and that made me feel better.
Because that is what free beer does at 10am.


Here are me, the Hubby and my little guy,
who came to celebrate with me, post-race....
Cormac was a little confused about what was going on and why mama running was so cool. 
my biggest fan
at least he was impressed by my medal
Cannot wait for my next half!  
Or, perhaps, a full?
Who is with me?

Friday, April 11, 2014

have you ever told your 'story'?

Lately it seems like there has been a not so subtle push for me to tell "my story."

As in, I have to.
Not write -- actually speak.  Verbalize.  Out loud.  (FYI: Speaking to groups - without a script - is not my strong suit.)

We joined a community group at our church a couple months ago, and we are now taking turns during our Thursday night gatherings telling our "stories"  --  about our lives and how God has worked in them thus far.  Perhaps about events and/or people who have had an influence on our spiritual journeys. To get to know each other on a deeper level.

Then my sister-in-law Jen recently attended a Christian women's conference in Dallas called Hope Spoken, and in her recap of the weekend it seems that there were so many women telling their stories, or testimonials, of how God has moved in their lives, through joy and hardship.   A few of the speakers even stressed the importance for the women in attendance to share their "story" - whatever that may be. Just like I am being asked to do in my community group.

I'll confess, I am a little at a loss of how to tell "my story" as it relates to my faith in front of a group of men and women.  I've written the "my life series" here on the blog, in which I share a little bit about my beliefs.  I have wrote a few other times about how important Jesus is to my life.  But nothing that I feel qualifies as a "testimonial."

At first I was really excited about the task!  I loathe small talk and enjoy deep questions and sharing real feelings.  But then it came time for me to figure out what I was going to say when it was my turn to tell my story and I basically my excitement transformed into fear and panic.  Forced reflection on my life made me feel grossly inadequate to tell any inspiring story.

Plus, I'm an introvert.  I don't usually throw all the intimate details of my life out on the table.  Especially to people I don't know very well.  I would say I could count on one hand the number of people I am comfortable being 100% transparent with.  1) Jesus 2) my husband 3) my sister.  Yep, that is it.

Yet that is what I am being asked to do.
So I have been making lots of excuses, including:

"Nothing substantial has happened in my life worthy of qualifying as a 'testimonial of faith.'"  

"I'm not a good speaker or naturally 'likable' so no one will want to hear my story." 

"I'm ashamed of certain parts of my life -- I might be looked at as a bad example of a Christian and all the 'good Christians' will judge me." 

"I have built a protective wall around myself/my heart.  I feel safe there." 

"I can't put my faith into words, or my relationship with Jesus.  No one will understand it."

I have written a bunch of notes about what I'd like to say, but I feel like the "surface level version" is boring and trite, and a "transparent version" is too much to makes me uncomfortable...and I fear it will make others uncomfortable, too.

So often I hear people, mostly women, blurt out the personal details of their life with complete ease,  and while I admire their transparency it tends to make me add more bricks to my wall.  It forces me to acknowledge how NOT comfortable I am talking about the ways in which God has worked in my life.  I feel like the way the way God has used me for his good is not exactly the typical feel-good, inspiring stories people like to hear.

Some people have these amazing stories of cancer survival, near-death experiences that strengthened their faith, or perhaps endured the heartache of miscarriage (in the female blogging world especially this is a familiar story that really seems to be a witness and light to other women.)

I have none of these things.  What I do have is a history of mistakes and plenty of personal demons, all of which Satan is probably using to prevent me from speaking about my faith.

Depression.  That one is a regular battle I fight.  Then there is the constant feeling of 'not fitting in' probably stemming from plenty of verbal bullying and backstabbing over the years from other females, many who called themselves my friends...leading to a distrust of female friendships.  A distorted body image. Oh, and guilt from a past in which I did not follow God's plan for my life and lived the way I wanted to...with a million excuses to back that up.
These are real issues, important issues, that I think many women face...but sometimes I feel they just aren't very inspiring to write/hear about.

Or I feel like it is more a story for a therapist, not a church small group expecting this beautiful story of faith.

But maybe I am not the only one with a messy story that is pretty much still writing itself?  Maybe it doesn't matter that I'm not some inspiring heroine that makes everyone stand up and start clapping.   Maybe there are others who can relate to my form of heartbreak.   Maybe it is okay for me to still be getting to the climax of my story, rather already in the lovely denouement?
Turns out the first night I was supposed to share several people were sick so our meeting was cancelled. The following week I had a fever and sore throat so I wasn't able to attend.

Let's just say I am grateful for an extra week to reflect on this.

+ + + + + + + 

Have you ever spoken of your faith journey out loud to a group of people?  If you were asked to tell your "story" or "personal testimonial" of how God has worked in your life - would it be easy?